SEA Currents: Corwith Cramer
October 11, 2014
Crossing the Hemisphere
Field Day and the Prime Meridian
Every day on the Corwith Cramer is a special day, but today could have been the most exciting yet. It began as a normal day does, each watch following their standing orders. However, there was a note written in the Night Order Log telling the dawn watch NOT to turn on Roxy (the galley’s trusty stove) at 0330 when she is usually “woken up.” Just like everything else on the ship, there was a method for this madness; the stove was to remain off so that it would not be too hot to clean during field day later in the afternoon. To those watches who were unaware of Roxy’s day off, it became obvious when there was cereal and fruit for breakfast and delicious cold cut sandwiches for lunch (including homemade humus; Bravo Becks).
The day continued normally as Sophia S. and I washed our clothes during our off time, followed by morning class for A-Watch before we began our afternoon watch at 1300. In class today, we reviewed the progress of our Conservation and Management projects so that everyone continues to be aware of each other’s topics. This really helps keep everyone on the same page because it’s a great feeling knowing that your classmates care about your projects almost as much as their own. For example, as we were sailing closer and closer to Mallorca just a few days ago, my shipmates would find me to say that they can see Dragonera (a small island off the northern Coast of Mallorca and a major focus in two of my three projects). Also, last night we saw one of the most beautiful sunsets of the cruise so far, and everyone stopped eating dinner and ran up to the deck so we could rate its beauty for Maggie’s Data and Communications project. Although people have been busily writing final drafts for projects since Barcelona, it is crazy to think that we still have two more ports of call to reach before some projects can be close to finished.
1300 rolled around and A-watch relieved B-watch from the deck. We took our positions and the helmsman went to the helm, the lookout went to the bow and the labbies went to the science lab. It wasn’t until 1430 that anything happened that was differed from a regular day at sea aboard the Cramer. As I rang the triangle, calling “All hands to the quarter deck,” shipmates mustered to begin the much-anticipated field day. There were a few general announcements from the crew, such as “Make sure to not spit your toothpaste into the drinking water sink,” and other useful bits of advice. At last it was time to split up by watch and take on the cleaning of every square inch of the ship. Just as the first mate, Ryan, was explaining the process of field day it began to rain. He said this only means Neptune wants us to begin Field Day even sooner, so we took our stations inside the ship. (Sophia and I ran to gather our not-so-dry clothes before they were rained on heavily enough to warrant a second washing).
A-watch was stationed in the galley where sponges and steel wool were handed out like candy on Halloween (Becks coincidentally did bring us candy like it was Halloween while we were cleaning). All parts of the ship are cleaned on a daily basis during dawn-clean up and after each meal, but somehow Field Day made it seem like no one had put a sponge to that stove in months. Everything was taken out of the galley, cleaned, and returned to freshly cleaned storage areas while we listened to some great music provided by our watch officer and first mate. Field Day is one of the few times we play music while en route, probably because it actually makes scrubbing every inch of the ship go by in no time. Finally we were finished and I personally could not wait to show Becks just how clean Roxy was.
We returned to the deck to finish our watch. Those of us without a specific duty at the time were circling the deck and studying our sails and lines. Everyone is basically at the point where we can stand at the quarter deck and visualize the pins all around the ship and name each line without actually looking for it. This is great practice for when we are raising and striking sails at night and we physically cannot look around for the line we need to hold. After reviewing lines, there are other tasks we do while on watch, like hourly weather observations for the logbook and plotting our position on the chart. While looking at the chart and estimating our position a few hours in advance, we were able to decipher exactly when we would cross the Prime Meridian! I was actually finishing up eating dinner about to start this blog post when I heard the countdown from the quarter deck. I sprinted up the ladder and made it in time to watch Mary snap a picture of the GPS reading 000l. Everyone was on the quarter deck or in the doghouse celebrating our crossing from the eastern to the western hemisphere. People were toasting their mugs of tea and celebratory chocolate was being passed around.
As I said before, every day on the Cramer is full of excitement, but today was something special. We now have a sparkling clean home that can really be described as ship-shape, and we are under sail in the Western Hemisphere heading for Cadiz. It will still be a few more days at sea before we reach our destination but I am sure that it will go by all too quickly. I especially cannot wait until we reach the Straits of Gibraltar, and hopefully will get a glimpse of the famous rock. It has been a great day so far, but it is time for me to shower and hopefully wash off the grime that I unfortunately accumulated while giving Roxy a bath. Sailing is a dirty job, but I do love it.
P.S. Happy Birthday Dad!!!! Love Sophia J